Despite the horrors of the coronavirus and lockdown, 20-year-old Jean-Pierre Lloyd‘s ambition of competing in the WorldTour is stronger than ever.
“Cycling has taught me that consistency will lead you to prosperity,” said the Stellenbosch-based pro who seems to be part of a rare breed who can back up their road racing skills with solid performances in individual time-trials.
“You have to stay consistent in your training and motivation regardless of your current performance.”
It was after Lloyd had won the junior time-trial at the 2018 national road championships that he decided to pursue a career as a professional cyclist.
“I had a brief realisation that I too could become like one of my idols and compete on the biggest stage.”
He signed with OfficeGuru after being head-hunted by owner Jamie Taylor following a stage victory and second place overall in the junior category at the 2018 Jock Classic.
“He saw the potential in me as a cyclist and asked if I had a team for the following year, which I didn’t.”
As he would have been graduating to the U23 category, the driven youngster felt that the structure offered by the squad would help him on his path to achieving top results.
After exchanging contact details and communicating over several months, Lloyd signed on the dotted line for the 2019 season and has been a member ever since.
“It seemed impossible to pursue a cycling career without the support, mentoring and guidance of a team like them. Jamie is one of the most passionate and supporting mentors you will ever meet.
“Not only in cycling, but in life.”
Lloyd paid the team back with two podiums – silver in the road race and bronze in the time-trial – in the U23 category at the national road champs in February.
He went on to place fifth overall in the Tour of Good Hope the following month, sadly the final event he competed in before the season was abruptly halted.
“I believe our current situation in lockdown has been difficult for everyone,” said Lloyd, who suggested the team had “big plans” to build on their successes of last year.
“With the current situation, and cancellation of all international races, the future is uncertain,” he said, thankful to still have the team’s full support.
Even though every race and training ride brought about different challenges, views and experiences, Lloyd said he felt part of a community of likeminded people.
“I have met all my current friends through cycling. It’s great to share interests with the people around you.”
His passion for cycling was ignited when, as a 12-year-old growing up in Pretoria, he watched his older brother compete in a few Trailseeker races.
“I instantly fell in love with the sport and knew I wanted in on the action – and not just as a spectator.”
He was able to convince his parents to purchase a mountain bike for him and, a year later, competed in 10km events.
“Back then it took a lot of convincing to persuade them into spending R5 000 on a bicycle, not knowing then that it would just be the start of something much bigger.”